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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  November 1, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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really nobody ever had resources to spend two years on a story. nobody knows this but the new york times didn't even have an investigative unit until the 1990s and maybe 1989. and even then it was just a
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couple of people at that time. so on the one hand, yes, there has been a lot of hand-wringing and i won't say nothing has been lost because especially at the local level lot has been lost. it is hurting around the country. at the national level, i don't know that it is so much the case that we are not able to be vigilant anymore. vigilance is taking form in collaborative efforts where people are working together to produce in depth stories that are hard hitting, that do help take the watchdog role and also happening in other medium. a lot of documentary filmmaking is becoming increasingly investigative and much more support and acknowledgment for that. if you look at the numbers over time more newspapers don't exist, a lot of reporters of lost their jobs.
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that is true, you can't deny it but i've been to the investigative reporting conference this year and there for 1500 people there. it was one of the largest turnout ever. the plus still doing the work but doing it in different ways. the money has always been awed to come by. it might be harder. bill we have water means of distribution so is hard to say -- there's no clear cost-benefit analysis of whether it is better than it is now. i think it is different now. journal and l.a. times and i hear talk about collaborative reporting, i worked with many well with others was not a with across any of those things. very difficult folks. with the person sitting next to them in the newsroom.
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my old boss from the l.a. times called the whole -- it is a pain in the a. tell me what one of these things looks like a. explain what happens and do they get along? >> for those who haven't worked in a newsroom before, you know journalists and news organizations are incredibly competitive. even today in your contracts, you are a sign confidentiality agreements, you won't talk about your story. there's a story washington post -- evan jenne will to confirm it -- they used to assign reporters to the same story could just get the competitive edge and see who does a better job. there's a huge cultural issue here. what is happening now because of the ministry sources is news organizations are in fact starting to say i can't do that type of work on my own. i will start to work with other
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technically competing news organizations so i have been involved mostly in large-scale collaborations that involve pbs frontline and publica which is non-profit. we are working with the center for investigative reporting. it might seem like a no-brainer. it kind of is especially today but it is true that culturally it is completely out of norm. we received a night granted couple years ago, to do a how to model for how to do collaborative reporting. what we quickly realized is before we can teach people to do this we need to change their minds about it. we need to change the culture in some ways or start to talk about the culture. do they always play well with others? no. not always. it can be really difficult. my big thing that i say at every conference is in the news industry we need to do a lot more -- put a lot more effort
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into teaching teamwork and the way other businesses do antiquing leadership because with good leadership and good team work skills and acknowledgment that that reporters can do a job they feel good about. >> there's not enough money so everyone needs to take their money together or the audience is too fractured? >> it is both. for front line the executive producers felt they don't have investigate reporters on staff. they can't afford it. they want to have the most cutting edge investigative stories on the air. the way they do that is to work with other organizations who are doing investigative work. they are not broadcast organizations necessarily but investigative reporters. it is about the money and the fractured audience and one thing we realized when we worked on a series with frontline and npr was when you have the npr store was twenty-five million listeners more people will watch
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the broadcast. it is finding ways to find a different audiences and skill sets. >> thank you. let's bring in scott lewis who is the ceo of a voice of san diego. recognized many people here for the strategic vision of the organization, created partners with some projects and gotten a lot of attention, a regular on tv and radio posting san diego fact check. and he has a weekly radio show, etc.. you are one of the serial all this attention, ten people. you fill with partnerships in your young, hungry, talented
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staff, and what can't you do? >> one thing i would love to do is matt quote we are not doing, the areas, geography, institutions that are not being covered. there is a function of holding a mirror up to somebody as they fix their hair. just by showing people you are watching, and there's a positive affect. our goal is to cover things, to use our resources the best we can which means we absolutely cannot repeat or be redundant to anybody else's work which means there is that quote, you do best and link the rest. what we do best is fine narratives, find investigation, find stories we can really be the best that and frame and explain and let other people do what they do best and accentuate that and try to help that. when we look at partnerships, we're looking at a world where
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the producers of content, drivers of explanation and storytelling don't have to be tied to the means of distribution, broadcast or printing press or whatever. the idea that you should have means of production and distribution within the same operation that comes up with the storytelling is an old one based on the newspaper having a printing press. we have decided we can be this agency that supports public radio or commercial radio or magazines and tv and we can work together to tell the best story possible. we are switching also not necessarily to what reporters do is cover beats but to cover narratives, the human mind learns and things in narratives. rather than just putting one person on education to gobble the fire hoses, to put somebody and have them come up with the narrative they're going to
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follow or add new narrative's or subtract them but really try to explain and make sure people are enrolled because if they are not, something will play out without their impact. >> a follow-up question. i am not thinking of any city in particular but with that kind of operation, in a city where the daily newspaper in town started to do some very strange -- imagine that -- somebody who wanted -- very openly to support particular causes, particular developments, particular parties. just imagine if something like that could happen. does that add to the obligation of citizens, people like you to do more, to fill that void, or can't you fill the void of the newspaper? that city just out of luck?
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>> a couple things. first of all, it is a remarkable symbol of what is happening to journalism, the owners of the union tribune purchased the times for less than the owner sold his house for. the assets are completely collapsing in value. [talking over each other] but setting aside that, properties can be acquired as you may. this is not an expensive problem to fix and that is an important thing to remember. i run on a budget of a little over a million dollars. that is a lot to person like me. to a cultural institution, impact the entire city, it is not that much. and museum runs on of higher budget. the accompanies, univ. colleges,
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professors within universities often run on bigger budgets. point being if we wanted to solve this, realize we wanted to have far more coverage, there are ways to do that and we have set basis i eddie that knows how to fund institutions with that type of impact. the tribune, we inspire us with ideas and structure and -- >> they wanted to focus on state politics in texas essentially. >> we were featured on the front page of the new york times after some investigation that we did and they called us that day and said what are you going to do? what can we do and they decided they wanted to do politics relevant to the entire state and now they're running at 4 and we are balking at that but that is not much money for the type of
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impact and institution like that can have. with a combination of the events, corporate and members sponsors you can do some impressive things. we are trying to look at this as a problem to solve. don't cover anything unless we can do it better than anyone else or no one else is doing it. make sense of what people say, fact check and find out what they don't want to say as well. applying those metrics to the narrative you are going to cover can make it so you are leveraging resources a lot better than the old models. >> for the whole panel, you mentioned a story here getting missed. with missing when we do the things we can with what we can. what are the holes opening of that we are not being vigilant?
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>> geographic and qualitative. there are areas you are not covering and institutions simply going about their business. one of the problems we face is people appreciate investigative journalism when it has impact but when it is not around you don't know what you are missing, and so we don't know what we don't know. that is an important quote for all of us. >> we look for stories where work is not being done. one of the big stories we have done is a series of stories in the last year, depth investigation in america. you may read about a murder investigation in your town or a nearby city and it might seem flawed and weird but that is the end of finance so this came from a long trail of reporting done by many different people but we started to just get a sense that we didn't have a sense what the country looks like. what does death investigation
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mean? to learn there are no rules to be in the corner. you don't have to be a doctor or trained. in one city there's an anecdote that someone was the janitor as well as the coroner. we are looking for chips where there's a story in front of you that the local murder investigation but what is behind that and that is what we're doing, trying to look at an issue that may be all around us but no one has found a particular angle and we are lucky we have the capacity to do and to try to get different organizations involved and look at something on a national scale. >> as of documentary film maker, i have a small company, people. at that moment when you commit to a story you better know that you are going to do a good job, once you go down that rabble, we're talking a couple years.
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for me the criteria is always can i take a narrative that is well known, can i find a back door into that story. i think about the jimmy breslin story -- when kennedy was being buried, was looking for a way to tell the story and ended of doing a beautiful piece interviewing the grave digger, telling the story through the point of view of this grave digger and not always think -- how do you talk about the drug war, how you talk about u.s. links to the drug war and the thing that is so impossible? you have to read it in some specific story and also find a back door, some different way into it. that is always an important piece of the puzzle. >> to look at another aspect of
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this, and citizens, witnessing with their cameras all over the world, i found myself thinking of those, everyone from folks in syria, in homes, trying to show what they could to focus here in oakland with camera phones, trying to show police misbehaving. someone who wrestled with the question of fact of journalism, how to protect people, whether they are citizens or professional. don't really have a big conversation about that. should there be an international standard of journalistic rights were if you are committing journalism you should be protected? out you protect those folks? >> good luck implementing that law. it is a great question,
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something journalists struggle with all time with a rise of social media and sites you have started out as a compendium of information, shootings in streets, be heading. started off like a visual wallpaper and it has since become more sophisticated and beginning to write articles, the editor is anonymous but they are starting to publish pieces. this thing that was touted early on as being this kind of innovative or new information delivery system is now turning into a more traditional journalistic entity but the journalists would say that is bare and the video where the man
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who's providing context and analysis. not the win need to always rely on experts but if you are writing for weekly, it gives you a totally different approach. you can right context and provide perspective in a way that you don't get from immediate delivery of information of data. >> to an extent, are you using stuff that comes in from citizens? to what extent you putting data and maps and other things out that citizens can put the pieces together? how much of that do you do? what is of value and what doesn't work about it? >> we haven't gotten a magic formula. we don't have the type of investment you can make in the data tools but it is important to remember journalists always use the crowd to put out a story
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knowing full well response is more valuable than the story they put out in order to see what the truth is. we are entering a really exciting phase. dimension context. with this destruction there have been a lot of efforts to do the same role. not just classified job ads better but also organize information a little better and one of the roles journalists never quite picked up the way they should have that we are trying to explore is their educational role to do investigative journalism but the idea that people understand everything journalists talk about or write about in their stories these days is something we need to examine because they're not following the story is very well. it is not their fault. the stores are not being told fully, not being brought to speed. the number of people who know how school board elections work for how different aspect of the
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community actually function before they can get enrolled in a story of how they are developing is something journalists need to take stock in an step back from. the formula is being applied to how we tell stories like fact checks and reader's guides that help people enroll in those stories a little easier. >> to the citizen question. >> we are not an outlet. we are program at the university of california berkeley as a graduate program that does reporting, but working with different organizations. we don't have an initiative per se. there are organizations that are doing incredible work with citizens. the guardian u.k. is the best example of a large news organization that works with citizens on huge scale. one thing they did in the last couple years was to pull public records about the way their politicians were spending money. they created kind of a forum.
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citizens volunteered to go through millions of documents and they competed, it was amazingly successful. don't know how many people participated but it was a lot. the guardian is very innovative and probably less squeamish at trying to find ways to engage citizens. i will save for us we don't get a lot of tips, but we never -- don't know of journalists are experienced but never ignore. i don't know how crazy it seems, how nonsensical it seems, how far fetched about aliens, we follow up on every single tip and you will be surprised how many stories actually we get out of those tips, having a conversation on an airplane. in that way we deal with people in a real serious way and when we do large-scale investigation is one of the things we try to do is make information available for other reporters. with the death investigation we
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create maps that show each county or state level, at the county level, how investigations work, what journalist could do to report in their communities and share as much as we can sell other reporters can say quote we have done and carry it forward. >> something both of you said, couldn't help thinking of the internal revenue service when you were talking about educational. your collaborating with nonprofits -- >> it is not non-profit but -- primarily by public funders in the foundation. >> non-profit, you have got money from foundations. it can be a little fickle.
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they have got agendas. the second problem is the irs seems to not buy in many cases the notion that non-profit journalistic enterprises our educational things. how do you wrestle with both of those? >> there's a discomfort with the idea that newspapers are not going to be okay. the idea that it needs to be a public service type entity that takes that role is something they're still getting accustomed to. there is movement -- >> older irs agents are holding back. >> i didn't say that. point being what i'm trying to address is there is a role -- there's a gap between when you leave school, even college, and civic engagement and being able to run for office. how you learn all the things
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about how your community works. there's a gap with no organized system how to get to that point other than for you to individually get upset about your son's school or stop sign that is not in place and you start getting engage. i don't think it should be that serendipitously and that is why i think our organization can embrace that role and do it while we are doing investigative vigilance. >> have you had a hard time? >> we were one of the first. they started to dial back when there were more organizations applying. it has gone quite well. win never had trouble with it. it is important to note that the people who want to support us, it is not a question in their minds when they make the decision. everyone is wondering would people support journalism and newspapers fall apart, they say people are not willing to pay
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for journalism that have you ask? so few have asked. without once pleading with the community to support it. >> they never ask police? >> never said anything about it. just stopped. the web sites have stood there like a depressing time capsule for month and it drove me nuts because these entities are falling apart without actually wondering what their community would support. non-profit is in a much better situation to make that plea to the community because for profits either set of shareholder values receiving money as gifts as awkward and we are seeing that in newsrooms around the country. >> you are more sympathetic? >> i am saying a mission based organization is a more sympathetic organization. >> carrie, when you report on
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these, have you seen examples of the founder of trying to meddle? >> yes but it is a meddling in a really particular way which is a lot of -- there are very few foundations that exists solely to support journalism. very few. there are actually thousands of foundations in this country and they have very specific desires and goals and impact in life so it might be to better the community or to better the arts. any host of things. when i say meddling, sometimes they will give a news organization money with a very specific scope in mind. maybe -- i am making this up to be fair, they want you to just cover education. that should be great but maybe what you really need to cover is something else in that community but suddenly you have a tech in
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front of you and feel compelled to cover education. that is the type of thing we are seeing, but that is concerning. it could be foundations could be educated about journalism. i went to a big foundation conference and realize they don't understand the echoes of journalism and that goes against the echoes of journalism to telling media organizations what they should cover. if we could have more communication it could change but will take some time and effort. >> scouting around for money to make films, how tough is it out there? is their money for vigilance? >> it is most of the time as documentarian's, what would be considered enterprise journalism, we subsidize our own development and by the time we have something to show or a sense of a pitch, we're going to foundations but typically it is a different process in that we are going to places where we think these projects will be
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well received. i am sometimes commissioned by entities. i am working on an education ceres for public broadcasting. the mandate is very clear. i have been very lucky that foundations have supported my work, made quite a bit of support from the foundation. there was no editorial meddling and certainly no restrictions on what we should or shouldn't be talking about. >> another aspect of where it can come from, the standing army of journalists that have been given their honorable or not so honorable discharges particularly in the last decade, got into all kinds of institutions and i keep finding old colleagues or people i knew who are doing journalism with in
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a different kind of place. or they tell me that at least. starting with government as one. you started in government. you were an inspector general with health and human services. legislative leadership out of the press corps put them in office and occasionally put out stories that have not put a lot of attention, reporters working in l.a. county where i live for the board of supervisors, they do journalistic logs or critical internally. does that have value? can't the government doing this? can you be doing journalism from within government? >> no. i don't think you can be doing journalism from within government. the office of inspector general is supposed to be -- this is that the federal level -- is
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supposed to be thepolitical. that is not the case. has been a long time since i worked there, when i was there during the clinton administration was absolutely not a political. people make decisions about what course you're going to take and what you're going to do. i was told during the bush administration, they would write reports that would be completely red lined and turn into a 1-page memo as it followed certain lines. i think that is not possible. >> let me disagree a little bit. maybe there's not vigilance but there is with resources in our world dwindling, all these complaints about not covering good news or different types of news that come from different entities could be reapportioned to other needs. look at locally the mayor's office had 1.3 of the best
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former writers in town, journalists -- [talking over each other] the >> could have produced a voice of the mayor's office that did quite well. is that government propaganda? of course it is. but on the other hand, look at what the does. .. >> what about the ngo as a
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place? i mean, you know, human rights watch, journalistic awards for its work. again, in los angeles area the best, one of the best investigative reporters i worked with at the "l.a. times" now does investigative reporting but he's paid more by the largest service employees service union. what about that sort of thing? if taken with a grain of salt is that part of the interest be? in a world where you can buy a newspaper for $12 million, we are pretty close to where it was going to be open about what these newspapers are trying to do. and so if a nongovernmental organization is open about what it's trying to do and produces a product works transparent about fund and other things like that, we might have to live in a world where you look through a menu of options like that, and trust
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people to put together a narrative you can understand. >> what do you think? >> i was just going to say that i think as long as these projects are explicit about where their support is coming from, they are up front about it, then i think that at leastó you have a fighting chance.óó interestingly, a lot of the commercial organizations are/? explicit or honest about whetheó support is coming from. i think in some ways we'reç7o holding ngos or nonprofits toç7o a higher degree of scrutiny and are the commercial world. >> we are switching from the world we get credibility from institution your part of to where you get credibility based on the algorithm they're using to find your information and how transparent you are. so it used to be young, even fabulous like jason could go work for "the new york times" and he would have credibility because he worked for "the new york times," and i think we are switching to a world where an organization has to just be
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open. so how goes about its business that what it's going to do what it's trying to do, and then let the reader take with what you mean. >> about universities as a home for this? full disclosure, one of the support partners is arizona state university. they help us fund our digital humanities journalism published every day. you work within the academy where you're also doing investigative journalism. is that a natural home within academic freedom, or does the drawbacks and problems that may be aren't immediately apparent? >> i'm sure it does come at a think it just depends on the institution. there is an idea kind of out in the journalism world that we can all become teaching hospitals, right, that universities can become teaching schools for journalism and put real information out in the world. and i think it depends each year for us. some years we have an amazing group of students who are very
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engaged, as with anything, you might get a year where that is not the case but i think there's up sometimes but think there are more pros than cons, at least for us. been at an academic institution also has like tremendous benefits, just basic ones, insurance, now our buildings before so we don't pay rent anymore. the university pays the rent. there are many, many benefits but it's a different way of working. it involves a lot of time and mentorship beyond actual reporting and a different type of fundraising, too. >> do either you collaborate with universities? >> haven't had much success with it yet. that doesn't mean i couldn't figure it out. >> i've never done that. >> is there -- spent that's not true. there is a project we worked on with one of our bigger investigation. we worked on food stamp and social welfare distribution and
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how much was in comparison to other counties in california in particular, have helped us create the data for the. so there are ways for specific projects. >> i read a lot more about that. a partner of zocalo in the past, the lane center at stanford is sort of partnership with media lab at stanford, something called spatial history lab and all this, it seems to allow the journalist to do more data, deeper kind of dive, data mining. the journalist is almost the translator of what comes out of the data. is that the great potential of that? they have big computers. >> a partnership always works best when both realize they can't do something. so if it's journalist realizes better public they could solve if only they had a camera or a data cruncher or math, geography whiz or something, then they can do anything. but it's very important that
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both partners realize they can't do it the other partner can do. >> i wonder sometimes if, you know, journalists have always been sort of conveners in some sense, they translate, they go find people to translate an expert. but for minting, the army is putting fewer through the boot camp of making cops called. to get to the point where you sort of have to train experts and people in different realms of profession and how to be journalism, that's the next thing, the journalist will be the troops come it will be certain like early vietnam will be the folks who come in to train a citizen or the expert essentially? we are on a training mission. >> i actually think the really exciting front will be a version of that where the forensic accountant becomes journalist. the prosecutors become journalists, you know, the
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military experts become journalists. i think that this idea that the journalism school produces journalism is probably, there's a role for storytelling, it's a profession but i'm really excited to see like some statisticians or experts in polling and in financial writing and stuff like that. i'm really excited to see that translate to the local level. if we could never afford any real accountant to investigate cities books and stuff like that, who also know how to write, that would be an expensive person. >> i'm not worried about cpas being good storytellers. i think is really exciting idea to have hyper specialized folks in that space but one of the things that allows me to sleep at night is when you work on being a storyteller, i meant to be an expert but i'm smart enough to where i don't know something i can talk to somebody and double down in that particular field but i think something like finding money is
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a great example. it's an hour of riveting radio about these hard economic concepts and they do precisely what you can talk about, these educations were you take something complex and you boil it down to where it makes sense that it's all told through narrative. so that's the power of never do. i feel like i'm not an expert in woefully uneducated about vast pieces of american life, but as a storyteller i understand i need to go here and there with the thesis. >> -- with those pieces. >> i want to follow up on the notion that the journalism school, teaching hospital, using more journalism schools asked to do more that. there were a bunch of foundations got together fairly recently wrote a letter, you're not supposed to use in writing old newspaper lives, slam really journalism schools around the country for not moving towards that model.
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and suggest that they weren't -- i mean, what are journalism schools producing, and i sort of, part of me wonders if their -- is that sort of calm is part of what's going on, i meet this is again, part of what's going on we're trying to keep labor costs low, we're looking for, you know, not, that's a perfect model. those are people, you not only don't have to pay but they are paying you for the privilege of doing the work, right? >> you know, the thing, and this is completely my opinion, is i think that the world is changing so much faster than academia is a customer to. journalism, i mean can even just a few years ago we wouldn't be having this conversation. we would be having the death of the newspaper conversation which we had for like five or six years. we all went to those panels. and i feel like things changed so quickly, the technology has changed things around late,
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think academia has a very hard time keeping up. and knowing what to tell young journalists to come to the scope what issue do. a year ago they should do everything. this year i'm reading a slew of articles i know, i want specialists again. so i think that's part of what's happening is the world of him in such a rapid pace. >> we also have this switch that with such robust media industry for so long, the goal of academia as applied to media was to protect quality, to enforce quality, and to talk about best practices. with the death of the media industry, i mean, it is a death. the grass are just shocking. the role has to switch to innovation to figuring out how to protect those values, the vigilance and other things we care about. and so that itself has to have some element of innovation and creativity. it can't just be about best
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practices, these great stories rewrote, that that sort of thi thing. >> if you want to become a documentary film maker, where'd you learn how to do that? with you could train? just pick up a camera? what advice to give to someone who says i want to be like bernardo. i want to have this, i want to do a film like -- >> the scared straight documentaries, you know, an ex-con goes intoxicated has just got into trouble, i sometimes feel like i go into a document program and they give the lecture him like you really want to do this? do you know what this going to be to? i think i actually teach i in te school of visual arts who created the program come have a social document program, it's a two-year program -- >> that's in new york. >> in new york. i think there are two routes. one is different that i took which is like running away to join the circus but it's like being a minor league ballplayer. you basically, you train a
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defeated people are really good at what to do. and i trained you. spent i was lucky enough to work for a couple of really great film makers. award for orlando boutwell for a few years on a series called matters of race, which is a pbs series. orlando had come out of the series with the civil rights history in america. that was kind of a fundamental place from each of them also worked on a documentary series deal the following country but i learned by working in production and then bike immediately working on things of my own. i do think there is a benefit to that best practices thing that happens in institutions. where you're not just struggling to make the thing, you're actually talking about and you also have community and resources. i think if you can afford it, i think that it's certainly a powerful river i just happened to have learned the hard as we possible can which is used by
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working in production, not doing anything else. >> is the issue here the kind of method, the institutions and the sort of patterns of careers that allows people to train to the sort of watchdog type stuff, whether they were exactly journalists or did someone thinks? are those drawing up? i mean -- >> i mean, documentary film is interesting because in some ways i think that's a really exist at a british ship model is part of how you become a film maker. but i think in journalism the apprenticeship model that the newspaper used to offer is definitely going away, and you have a staff of 10 you might be able to mentor some number but used to be a copy boy or girl, you know, you really could write through the ranks -- rise to the ranks. i think we're in a different place but at the same time i don't want a political judgment on that because everything is different. >> but the deception is also bring up possibility of other the people to rise that wouldn't
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have. >> exactly. >> a very close system, where's your summer internship and all that. >> is a very defined path. i was in the path and then watched it, and so that was, you know, it's jarring and it's difficult to pronounce the thing that offers some opportunities for people are building their brand and credibility. >> here's a question. one thing that seems changes it is very diverse, the last question before we go to the audience for questions, but it used to be when there weren't as many institutions, bigger, more diverse kind of crazy array of things where people support who's a journalist anymore. it seems like there was a stronger, but publicly known ethic of what a journalist is supposed to be and how to@ behave. it doesn't seem to be that there is in any, we're sort of withoua an ethic.i so i mean, should they be basic sort of training for the citizen to know what a journalist is,$
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how they could do very basic journalistic things? >> remember, we talked about education. journalists always do this and they always talk about all these rules and stuff like that. the broader public, they never took the time to actually never read that and enroll the public in their own narrative. everyone in the newspaper knew that the editorials were separate from the newspaper, but there's nothing very stark and actual paper explaining that. like everybody. we just assume that they all, that we do a story three months ago, we assume they read it. this is just a problem in our industry, and one thing that these new entities have to do is enroll people in the high standards they have, talk about constantly why they should be trusted, that sort of thing. it's a constant enrollment. >> i do want to say though that one thing that if you feel like has been loss, while there's more room for new voices and more innovative voices, by the time the newspapers collapse
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most of them had made a strong commitment to diversity. that still exist in some of those newsrooms. as you're seeing these new nonprofits, up, for reasons that i just knew survival, they are not therefore that point so we are losing actually a lot of diversity in our journalism. and so that's one real big red flag that i feel very strongly about, and figuring out how to support all these nonprofits in those goals. >> we newspaper was an institution you could complain to to change practices, that was the way to solve the problem in some ways, and now the institutions falling apart you have to solve the problems yourself. >> and some people do it and have made real commitments in some organizations don't, for a wide writing of reasons. >> i think with that let's open it up to audience. >> thank you so much. if you have a question they are two of us going around with microphones. jennifer and i will take your question.
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please speak into the microphone as we're recording as c-span is he under on camera here is here as well. evening before your question. our first question is right here. >> my name is jean fisher, and i'm looking at a state of open mind public square, all these terms you're using vigilant. i've been i in the comes to mind is julian assange and wikileaks. i would like to know, to support the work? is this something that's going to be coming in future? i find in today's media journalists not ask good questions. and it is very frustrating because we're not getting the truth. we're not getting the facts. no transparency. so what is -- okay, what is your opinion, julian assange and the work of leaks, wikileaks?
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>> so, with a julian assange as a guest for a couple of years, both on skype and in person before he moved. you know, that's a complicated issue, it really is. for so many reasons, and one of the problems right now is it's hard to parse julian assange as a figure from what he was actually doing. saw it say, i don't have a clear answer to that. in a lot of ways i support what he, what he was trying to be. i don't know if i support it in the way he did it. at me, i think most journalists live in the public's access to information. that's why we do what we do. but he's an interesting figure in one of the things in a very particular way, and it just makes things very complicated, at least for me. >> i support, defend his rights to do what they did. i think there is some discomfort with his personality, with his
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figure. but i think this is an example of another formula being applied to the old journalism problem, you know, i think the homicide watch in washington, d.c. is another one, instead of everything having to go through a 10-inch story on the front page of anyone or whatever, that this is a way to apply a formula to solving a problem to take a bunch of documents and get them into the hands of the ground and see what we can figure out. and i think it's interesting to watch, defend his rights to do what a lot of what you. there are some problems that we all need to wrestle with, with regard to how he did it. >> denardo, i wonder if there's more to the question in the sense that the professional norms and ethics are prison, right? there certain things you cannot do in certain places, but julian assange doesn't have to play the game to james o'keefe, toward the conservative guy who dresses up comic you think that's -- it's valuable to have those people who are, you know,
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there's arrogance these people reach and the rest of us, there's certain things we can do. they will do almost anything. >> absolutely. and i think it's a great question. is assange a journalist? is he a hacker? is a just and who's responsible for massive data comes? i think i personally interesting i think i have a slightly more conservative take on what a journalist can and should do. i would prefer to have a trusted source that can sympathize with some of that information for me. someone that i can follow over a period of time, in overtime after writer gains credibility, somebody who i respect over time. then again, you, you have to ask yourself, did it have an impact? did the act of releasing all of those information at different times in different places have
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an impact? of course it had huge impacts. so when one and you're gauging impact. on the other hand, were having a conversation about ethics and standards, that maybe do some people seem outmoded and old-fashioned by their very front of the questions. that's part of what i wanted to make -- in some way the journalism that is being practiced and sets up, harkens back to kind of an old school investigative print journalism, that you know, not that i'm, i was being romantic, but i kind of wanted to still see in practice and in a place. >> quickly, have you ever gone undercover? >> no. >> i've always had to be very up front about who i am and what i'm doing. and also its are difficult to do that nowadays. someone could google do or look you up on facebook. >> i would agree a lot of times, good questions are not being asked. it is frustrating to know that
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especially in election year somebody gets a response that the journalist probably knows isn't true and they are not responding in a way that satisfactory. i don't know how to solve the issue but i want to emphasize that eating. >> -- of that feeling. >> i used to be a journalist a couple years ago. i haven't seen your documentary, but very interested in seeing it by the way. right now i'm out of the journalism business. right now i have a startup called single .tv. what we are doing is we're working on video medium for overall the general use, especially him this constant
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evolution and to the point where what we see in 2020 even is income principle. and that's scary and, unless you try to take control of your own part of it and build something like what you're talking about. i don't know. i don't come adelaide anybody who says they do has any kind of clue. but it will be good. every time there's a new -- they did an amazing talk if you go to ted. they posted it on ted. anytime there's a new printing press is something everyone thinks it's the end of the world or that it's all going to bring
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peace but -- perfect peace and to me but it does need. it makes things better in a lot of ways and it makes things worse in a lot of ways. we're going to get better and worse. >> my name is don lightning. i came tonight because i think that not only are the questions not being asked, but -- the problem is how do people respond? now in san diego because if you don't have a facebook account you can even comment on stories if the output allows comments. so what we are faced with, we are faced with our a bunch of like sound bites on stories. and then we're supposed to reset. and so from my point of view having seen people like edward r. murrow and walter cronkite, you know, real reporter reporters, what we are seeing now is please to go for news is "huffington post." but now they got bought out so now that's dumbed down. so now twitter is the big thing.
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then something else when twitter gets bought out. so how do you see san diego responding to the really big stories like $1.2 billion grabber of money, and nobody in san diego news wise is even talking about it. >> i don't think that's fair. we did a poll, the big story, put in sending a magazine. is also in san diego on nbc. that was an example of using our different collaborative partnership of that. you couldn't comment on an edward r. murrow posts in the past. negative interaction with reporters which i think is unprecedented and exciting. but you're right, i mean, we need better, stronger, more interesting coverage of these institutions, of these big changes and of these scandals. it's just that it's, you know, you can't just pick and choose an outrageous thing that's characteristic of the whole
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thing. now look, twitter is not delivering the information. twitter is sources like me and others who were providing a way to organize that information differently. don't think of twitter as 140 characters of information to think of it is 140 characters to invite people to get deeper into the subject because every tweet has a link. it's a very special medium that is allowing people to connect and share information, extremely well, and things under a lot faster than it would have in the past. >> i'm curious what you think a year out from occupy wall street have their tactics changed this conversation in immediate about wealth inequality, income just to be sure, and they also go i don't know if you notice, they taught people really how to document what was happening at their different encampments and did what i thought a good job of training citizen journalist, how to videotape the police were, and here in san diego we had
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tremendous problems with police breaking up the occupied demonstrations in san diego. and it really was overwhelmed by a lot of other things. we don't have a zocalo in san diego or people can go and camp out like they did in other places but i'm curious what you think of occupied change the conversation in and i in the message also trained citizen journalists as part of that process? >> i think it had a huge impact. i mean, i think if you look at the election right now, the way we are discussing so many things, it's become part of all of our vernacular which i think similarly to nothing able to comment on edward r. murrow, i mean, 30 years ago that would have been exactly the same case. so i think it had an enormous impact. i still think it shows what an exciting time is. to me that is community activism. that's not journalism. they may have trained, trained people to use journalistic techniques, and do some reporting that happens, but i think, i mean i think we are at a moment where we are asking
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ourselves is journalism something they're still unbiased, showing what's happening versus having appointed you that you're trying to get across. i still make a distinction the iq both the the weather underground does not have an opinion on a certain level. but i do feel that they're still a distinction personally, and i think it's now the more people have the opportunity to have a voice, in a very strong and powerful way. >> do you want to talk about that? have you look at some of the film work produced by occupy? >> i'm excited to see what groups of film makers are going to tell the occupy story. i think it remains to be seen what impact they have had. it certainly impacted the conversation. i would simply put an election year we're still not talking about the income inequality and poverty, structure inequality in deeper and more profound ways. so that's, i can't chalk it up,
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that's not occupy city. it's just, it's something we still struggle with. in this country from the perspective spent one advantage of occupy had, they were shooting film but they also had something i often wish i had when i was a journalist was ahead of volunteer lawyers there. helping them. there's all this sort of fighting that goes on, people can be there citizen journalists and have cameras they take with them, about whether public faces, what we can shoot, which he can't you, what you do, wendy kopp decide to club you over the head. do you work with a lawyer when you're out there? do you have a lawyer you consult with often? >> i am blown or debit because that's really a being a documentary film maker. also i think people rightly so are so much more sophisticated. i think because of things like reality television, people are much more aware of media and someplace more comfortable with
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it. it's ubiquitous but at the same time there's a sense of opportunity sometimes, so it is a necessary, i won't call it a necessary evil because i like my attorney. it is a part of that puzzle. but again, occupy is a movement. occupy is a social movement. .. thing >> there's always this charge that the media's doing its
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thing, and to some extent it feeds that, but there's always been really good pr people that have formed that narrative for a long time, but i think occupy showed how a cohesive and interesting discussion could impact that narrative as well. >> we've got time for one last question over here. i'd like to thank our co-presenters for this evening, cal humanity, as well as our host,e san diego museum of art u and also c-span for recording this event, and the reception will be right outside the doors immediately following the last question. thank you so much for being here. >> i'm rick, and i like the model for being transparent, exposing your methods, but almost professionally, but what would you do or say to somebody who had never written or wants to be a vigilante, what motivates somebody to be a vigilante, and follow up is the craft of reporting as he was
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saying, is that getting lost? >> you mean that one person wants to go out and, you know, commit journalism and hold their government accountable? >> what i mean. >> vigilante. >> you need to start. we all started somewhere. you have to just start telling a story and see if you can get traction and get into networks that support you -- >> i'm talking about -- [inaudible] the psychological motivation for somebody to go ahead and do that. >> you never write as well as you write when you're mad. you've got to read it after you do that and make sure you're all right, but it seems to flow really well then. find out -- i mean, what makes you passionate, and you tap into that. whether it's soccer mismanagement or whether it's something greater about the society, i think tap into something that really fires you up, and then make sure you do the work to make a good case about it. lawyers do the same thing. um, it's a, it's a process of
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being effective at making a case. >> yeah. >> what drives the two of you to get into this? is it the usual thing, unhappy childhood? [laughter] >> that's a good question. no, i think it's funny, even reading my bio here tonight, oh, is that me? i always think of myself first and foremost as a storyteller, and that story telling takes a lot of different forms sometimes with the goal of having an impact. it's kind of a sense of, i don't know, maybe it is the parent's civic duty. the one thing i will say about all of the investive reporters i know is they're just obsessive people, and they're very, very curious. and, you know, you see a problem, and many of us -- >> [inaudible] >> right, right. you can't, you can't let go. what is going on there? that's kind of the case for most of the people that i know, it's a real obsessive curiosity about
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the way the world works and hopefully trying to make it work a little bit better. >> i think for me i would very much agree with what carrie's saying, but i think it's also trying to get at what makes people tick and not understanding myself how institutions work sometimes and just really trying to ask those questions and figure out those questions. i think something like david simon's "the wire" did such a masterful job of telling this upstairs/downstairs story, a story about the drug war, a story about the inner city, about baltimore. i think that's not, it's not a piece of journalism, and yet at the same time it's so informed by a long and interesting career in journalism, in local journalism that something like that to me has tremendous power. narrative for good or for bad is the way we absorb, tend to absorb information at this moment in time in this society.
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and so i think for me when i see those projects that can impact the culture, that can reframe the way we think about something, that, to me, is what really gets me excited, and those are the types of things i throw myself toward. those are the windmills i'm going after. >> i thought there was an antisocial aspect. i remember on the college paper, go through the trash. at the board of overseers after they had their meetings and wanted me to come along, and the fact that there was something you could do for a living that involved diving for people's trash just seemed so interesting. [laughter] is the dumpster dive over? have the lawyers shut that down? >> there's a lot of locks on dumpsters. >> that's too bad. >> that's true. >> anyway, please join me in thanking everyone for being here tonight and thanking the panel, and we'll see you at the reception. [applause]
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>> you know, indiana's made incredible progress in the last eight years, honestly balancing budgets during all those years. we've become the fiscal envy of the country, and now we have the largest surplus we've had in our history that's going to make it possible to strengthen our reserves and cut taxes for every hoosier. but, john, you just said we pay for things in indiana, okay in but when you were speaker of the house, for five of the six years that you were running the statehouse, indiana ran deficits. when mitch daniels came into power just a couple years later, indiana was $700 million in debt and had a deficit of $820 million. you know, john, facts are stubborn things, and i'd just like to know from my colleagues on stage how are with we going to make sure and preserve the fiscal integrity of the state of
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indiana? >> congressman if you'd spend the last 12 years in indiana rather than congress, you'd know our budget has to be balanced according to our constitution. i've balanced and produced bipartisan balanced budgets and, oddly, these you talk about, they were supported by fort wayne's own david long and our lieutenant governor, becky skillman. i find it almost laughable that a united states congressman would lecture anybody about fiscal responsibility. you voted not once, not twice, but five times, congressman, you voted -- and the results increased our deficit by $200 billion, billion with a b, dollars. >> find key house, senate and governors races from across the country on c-span, c-span radio and >> our coverage includes the debate between the candidates in rhode island's 1st u.s. house
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district. we'll be live on c-span tonight at 7:30 eastern from rhode island college. and we'll also be live friday with the senate debate in maine. six candidates are running for the seat of retiring republican senator olympia snowe including republican charlie summers, democrat cynthia dill and former governor angus king, an independent. our coverage is on c-span2 friday at 7 p.m. eastern. >> through election day watch our coverage of the presidential candidates. first, debates from key house, senate and governors races from around the country. in a few moments, a panel of former analysts from the cia and state department look at what's happening in syria. and then remarks from the libyan ambassador to the u.s. several live events to tell you about today on our companion network, c-span.
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including a speech by general ray odierno at the center for strategic and international studies to discuss the future of the army. that's at 10:30 a.m. eastern. our campaign coverage continues at 2:15 p.m. eastern with a rally for mitt romney in virginia just north of richmond. and also on c-span president obama's campaign rally at the university of colorado in boulder. that's live at 9 p.m. eastern. [cheers and applause] >> okay. let's get the album by grace coolidge that documents the coolidge family during their white house years and before. part of the coolidge family papers. we have one box that's just photographs and then several
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boxes of other documents. photographs are heavy. and the album should be in the back of the box here. here it is. unfortunately, it's on black acidic paper. that's not much we can do about that because we don't want to change the artifact nature of the album itself. and it's starting to crack, some of these pages are separating. this is a photograph of calvin coolidge the day before he became president. he was in plymouth, vermont, visiting his father, doing some chores. this is a press photograph, so he did have the press along with him. they took one photograph of him here with his suit jacket on and then another one of him without the suit jacket on. >> more from the vermont historical society this weekend
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as booktv, american history tv and c-span's local content vehicles look behind the scenes at the history and literary life of vermont's state capital, montpelier, sunday at 5 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. >> now, a panel of former analysts for the cia and the state department look at what's happening in syria. the annual conference of the national council on u.s./arab relations, this is a little more than an hour. >> apologies, trying to save time. okay. so as i said, i'd like to first start by talking a little bit about the conflict in syria, where it is today and then talk a little bit about u.s. policy options. in terms of where the conflict in syria is today, it is now 19 months into by far the bloodiest of the arab uprisings. there have been more than 30,000 people killed, about 350,000
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refugees in the countries around, surrounding syria, one and a half million syrians internally displaced inside the country, 28,000 syrians are reported as having been disappeared. this is clearly a conflict of tragic proportion in terms of the human cost. in addition there have been significant spillover effects. we've seen just in the last few weeks incredible things happening in the region. there has been cross-border artillery fire between syria and turkey for about five days going. there has been, of course, the assassination last week in lebanon -- unclear yet who perpetrated that attack, but it is widely seen as being yet another pillover effect of -- spillover effect of the crisis. we have seen a terrorist plot
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foiled in jordan in which extremists potentially connected to al-qaeda were going to use arms that they had gotten from syria to undertake a terrorist attack inside jordan. so we have both the humanitarian dimensions inside syria, we have the refugee crisis and the necessary strain that that has put on countries that are hosting syrian refugees; lebanon, turkey, jordan. each of those countries hosts at least 100,000 registered refugees at an enormous cost and at a significant strain to their infrastructure. and we see the security dimension, the spillover effect that has taken place around the region. it is an incredibly dynamic and volatile conflict, one in which i think those observing it are continually surprised and overtaken by the pace of events on the ground. but that said, i think there are
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three constant factors that have been at play in the syrian crisis from the very beginning, and these -- the interplay, i would argue, of these three factors has much to do with why the conflict has taken such a downward spiral. the first is that from the beginning the syrian regime has viewed this conflict as an existential threat, from the very beginning. and as a result, has not been interested in negotiating a solution, has not been interested and certainly will not willfully step aside as we saw in tunisia, egypt and even in yemen. and i would argue probably is not amenable to any sort of negotiated solution. the second constant is that the opposition has been perpetually divided, fragmented, unable to coalesce around a unifying vision of a post-assad syria.
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we've seen divisions among the external opposition, we've seen divisions inside syria, we've seen divisions among the arms groups, divisions based on ideology, divisions based on patrons and so forth. and the third factor is that the international community has remained at a stalemate, has been unable to reach a consensus on how to move forward in syria. we've seen three security council vetoes by russia and china causing many to call the u.n., essentially, ineffective in this crisis. so it's been the interplay of these three factors, i would argue, that has led syria down the path that it has taken. in terms of u.s. policy, u.s. policy is based on the objective of having assad, as president obama called for, step aside. this was back in august of 2011.
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the problem with u.s. policy is that it has continually been at conflict with itself in terms of how to achieve that objective while also achieving or protecting u.s. national security interests in the region. namely, i would argue, very understandable concerns about, about the impact of unseating assad and the potential for massive instability across the region. so at the crux of u.s. policy on syria, i would argue, has resided this tension of wanting assad to go but being concerned and fearful about how to achieve that objective while also seeking to maintain stability in such a volatile region of the world. now, the debate right now on syria is focused largely on this question of whether or not to arm the opposition which is to
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say to provide more sophisticated, heavy weapons to the armed opposition. they are already receiving some amount of weaponry from countries in the gulf as well as from turkey perhaps, but the focus of the debate in the u.s. has been whether or not or, frankly, why not arm the opposition, why not have the u.s. either directly or indirectly provide sophisticated, heavy weapons to the syrian rebels. that's one argument that's forwarded. the other argument that's forwarded is to use military force in order to establish a safe haven in the northern part of syria that borders turkey. a safe haven would necessarily require a no-fly zone. so the debate has been around these two with military types of interventions. i would argue that, in fact,
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what needs to be done is to shift the paradigm, that further militarization of the conflict in syria is not the answer and is not going to bring this country to a more peaceful, rapid end to this horrendous conflict. let me provide maybe a few points on what i see as the dangers of arming the opposition and then maybe just conclude with a few more points on this idea of shifting the paradigm and having the u.s., frankly, assert more leadership in the realm of diplomacy. the downside to arming an opposition that is continually fractured and increasingly radicalized, there are several downside risks to this. one is even under the best circumstances and with the best vetting it is very difficult, if
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not impossible, to insure that these arms do not end up in the wrong hands. we have lessons from afghanistan in particular that we should constantly remind ourselves of as we think about this. secondly, in such a fractured environment it's also very difficult to see or to guarantee that various rebel groups will not turn their arms on each other. unfortunately, the situation in syria has already deteriorated to such a point that even if assad were to magically disappear tomorrow, that would not spell the end of the conflict or the problems in syria. there are significant issues now at play. significant sectarian tensions as well as ethnic tensions between kurds and arabs and so forth. the third argument is that if the u.s. arms or helps to arm
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these opponents, it will translate into greater u.s. influence over those who eventually run syria. again, history proves that that is not the case. so i, so let me, let me, with that, with my two minutes that i've now been told i have left, let me move and try to end on a positive note which is, essentially, my own sense is that the downside risks of a military option in syria are significant. i also think the fact that we have reached the point we have reached with the conflict which is to say such a significant escalation of horrific violence inside the country as well as such threatening regional spillover effects suggest that we may be at a point where if the u.s. can leverage its leadership, can key off of these various threats to bring together the key parties for whom none of the parties really
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is it in their interest to see syria descend into a yearslong civil war. and in particular i think the most interesting potential turning point is the cross-border fighting that took place between syria and turkey, because that brings with it the credible threat of the use of force via nato, and turkey's use of article v in the nato treaty. so what i am proposing is backed by that credible threat of force, the u.s. exert its soft power leadership in the region and bring together key parties including russia, including iran. and if it's not the u.s. doing that directly, there's an interesting initiative that is taking place at a regional level being spearheaded by egypt in which egypt, turkey, iran and ideally saudi arabia are seeking
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some sort of solution to the crisis. perhaps that effort being done at the regional level, the u.s. exercising its strengthened diplomacy at a more global level may help to bring the syrian crisis toward a softer landing. i would just close by saying this. i think throughout the debates and the discussions around not just syria, but frankly u.s. policy more broadly on the arab transitions whether it's with respect to libya, egypt or elsewhere, there's been this constant refrain that the u.s. has been absent. and i think there's a certain truth to that. but the second piece is that, therefore, the u.s. needs to engage militarily or needs to engage its hard power, and i would argue that between that -- within that spectrum, there are two ends of the spectrum. one doing nothing, the other exerting military and hard power
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influence. i would argue the most powerful and effective tool and the one that's discussed but the one i think provides the greatest hope is for the u.s. to engage using soft power. and i'll leave it at that. [applause] >> our second speaker is ewe yaphe. >> i apologize for the cliche, it was hard not to do it since i'm talking from an iraq-centric perspective. i think everyone is looking for lessons learned. well, didn't we learn any lessons from iraq or afghanistan or you name the crisis? and the problem is, we always learn a lot of lessons, and we don't learn any lessons. and i think if you look at what
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i want to do is lay out some of the dilemma here for those who are wondering what we are supposed to do. now, um, i think you have to put a certain perspective on this as well. those of us who sit in washington find difficulty in putting the issues that are going on in the middle east in perspective, especially in an election year. we're good americans, and we tend to take a very short view of history. we can only think ahead to the next election -- whoops, that's only two weeks -- and many of us don't remember the last election. i have students who note know -- who don't know about the vietnam war because they were born after, and that's hard for me to take in. our collective memory lasts about as long as a football game. the problem is many people look at yesterday's enemy as tomorrow's trading partner, and they tend to think everything is relative. well, when you're in the middle
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of it, it's not all relative. how can we fashion a policy when we really don't put together all the pieces that make iraq and iran partners or not, when iraq and syria are partners? in other words, this is a are complicated thing, but iraq, iran and syria collectively speaking have been rifles for -- rivals for power, for water, for territory for the region for, what, i would say at least 1500 years, maybe it's 7,000 years. choose your history. now, we all know what brought iran and syria together three decades ago was war against a common set of enemies, iraq, and by extense the greater and lesser satans. iran's need for lebanon, hezbollah, the ability to leverage opposition to the peace process. syria needed an ally against the hated regime in baghdad, and in
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the beginning it was sort of a mutual let's get together because the enemy is my friend. and now what we have has been a change over time the no longer equal partners, they haven't been for a long time. it is iran that is the dominant partner. what brought iran and the new iraq together, the post-saddam iraq? again, a common enemy. saddam first, and then after 2003 the american occupation. i don't think -- if you think about the new baghdad, now that saddam has gone, and isn't that a pity? some of us do miss him because it's difficult to not imagine life without him, but it certainly makes these complex issues so much more simple by comparison, but the iraq he so carefully constructed is gone. so what's the relationship between persian and shia, alawite, etc., etc. i don't think it can be reduced to the simplicity of those kinds
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of formulas, us against them, shia against sunni, persian against arab. i think their rivalries go back, as i said, a long time. you can go back to the seventh century when the mayans defeated imam hussein. don't bother with that. you can just to back a couple of years to the great rivalry that began in the '60s between saddam and assad, and this is a rivalry of longstanding. it doesn't change. relationships don't get simple just because a greater hated leader is gone. now, if you look at where we are now, nouri maliki's been accused of a lot of things lately, and my remarks don't mean to speak for or against everything, after all, i'm with the government. these opinions are my own, and i have to stay whole not those of any government that i work for
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or any other government organization for that matter. but the thing is maliki is giving us a very important and interesting dilemma. he became prime minister in 2006. he was a member of the once-clandestine dawa party, spent more than 20 years in exile first in iran, and then in syria. it cannot have been pleasant for a young iraqi dependent on the charity of both of these states to survive and make do in these complex societies. so here is the dilemma. maliki, i see him as an iraqi shia arab who's a nationalist and an independent-minded politician determined to reconstruct a strong iraq or at least stronger than his kurdish, syrian and iranian allies or partners or cohabitants in this state would like to permit him
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here is a dilemma. and it's a dilemma for us. maliki's accused of being the new saddam or a muscular democrat, you can choose. i don't care. the point is, he's got some choices to make that are difficult. trying with this technology here, it's driving me crazy. now, i think maliki is wary of syria, i think all iraqis are. it's allowed sunni-arab call fates back across the border to smuggle weapons, it's stirred up the sunni arab tribes, it's given safe haven to members of saddam's family and regime, and let's remember anti-baathist enemies diehard. and i think it's much more than being baathist versus baathist or arab versus arab, there's always been a rivalry between these two states and leaderships
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going back in time. iran is just that baghdad support the assad regime, help it supply with whatever it needs, permit air resupply operations, cross-border traction sit of -- transit of trucks, access to hard currency and gold that's in banks. baghdad, where does baghdad stand in this? complicated. they refuse to sign a status of forces agreement with us, insisted on the september 2011 withdrawal of combat forces, but i don't think they expected us to leave and shut the door behind us. they are awaiting delivery of 36 f-16s beginning in 2014. they're colleaguer to purchase -- eager to purchase other arms as well, i think it is two tranches of 18 and 18, but the point is the dates are starting to shift a little bit. but the u.s. is still a good place for the iraqis to shop, and they would like to do that.
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but baghdad's also signed a $4.2 billion deal for helicopter gunships with moscow, it could look to purchase migs, and they're out there with their suitcases shopping around. anybody remember the shop til you drop phase of saddam in the '80s? it's back, and they have money. they're now producing 3.0 million barrels a day -- have i got that a right, paul? -- for export. they're back now to where they were in 1980 just before war began with iran. and they are way ahead of iran which is under sanctions. not bad. remember the oil energy issue? good. now, washington complains, washington's been complaining about iraqi support to the assad regime and acquiescence to iranian pressure to do so. and hence, there could be problems in the deliveries of the f-16s, a delay while
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things sort themselves out. after all, baghdad's violating internationally-imposed sanctions. you all know what that means. yes, right on the mark. so here's the dilemma for maliki and for the united states, what do we do? and, remember, i don't think that maliki, i don't think he's an iranian tool or an american tool or anybody else's. he has his own, he's got his own strategy and his own goals in this game. so what do we do? if, for example, if i were in baghdad making decisions and like maliki i'm interested in building a stronger and effective iraq, i might say to myself, gee, i've got to rethink my policy towards assad. but i don't know if he's thinking that or not, he could be. he's kind of cagey. now, if assad stays in power -- not thinking like maliki, but thinking in general -- assad may be grateful to baghdad and cut off aid to the am bit kurds --
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ambitious kurds that are going to be a thorn in the side of everybody. and then there's the extreme itselfs like the salafis and al-qaeda. iraq would no longer have to worry about the muslim brotherhood taking over in damascus and encouraging sectarian civil war in iraq, and i think the iraqis increasingly are seeing this as a growing, possibly even existential crisis should this go on out of control. if assad loses, then what happens? does decision making in baghdad end here? iraq could become -- not could, will become more enmeshed in iranian strategic thinking. it will be iran's new periphery, its strategic depth against the west protecting tehran against its enemies. this will not be a comfortable place for maliki or iraq, and maliki could find himself under even greater pressure from tehran to make concessions to iranian interests.
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if, however, think about it from a washington perspective, and i don't care who's in the white house, it doesn't matter, the question becomes how far do we let baghdad go in helping assad without paying a price in u.s. support or assistance, either military or civilian under the strategic framework which we are now wanting to negotiate? now, if you measure -- i think this was some famous, recent secretary of defense said the knowns and the unknowns. i am stopping, it's my last sentence. [laughter] i hate when they -- baathist. [laughter] i couldn't help that. i couldn't help that. losing syria, as rumsfeld once said, maybe it's wiser to insist on iraqi compliance. if we ignore baghdad's support for us and the risk of a lingering and endangered civil war and spillover into iraq and elsewhere grows. losing syria as a strategic ally
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will not cause the collapse of the government in iran, although it could weaken ahmadinejad even more than he's weakening anyway. weakening baghdad by threatening maliki, though, could have a major unintended consequence, and that is this: could push maliki, push him closer to tehran and away from possible rapprochement with iraq's arab neighbors which, in my humble opinion, is not a good idea. thank you. [applause] >> okay, so in my role as non-baathist moderator -- [laughter] inviting abdullahal sham
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marry -- alshammari to speak. >> thank you, it's a pleasure to speak with you. i should talk about iraq, then about syria, but i think i will start with syria since it's the hot issue for both of us. so my question, are are they very shocked and disappointed from american policy toward syria, my answer is, yes. and i think it's big yes. what they are waiting from the united states. for sure we are waiting for some -- we are not expecting united states to go to damascus like what they did with saddam hussein, but what i think united
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states -- [inaudible] minimum for syrian issue. regarding saudi arabia, since the beginning of syrian issue, saudi arabia did their best with bashar al assad, and you know we had a great and historical relationship with assad and his family and even some relations so saudi arabia tried their best with what they called unannounced diplomatic force that sabia usually prefers to do with some countries. but unfortunately, many times king abdullah and his sons, many times bashar al assad, but we didn't hear any reaction or get good response from bashar al assad, so that continues to august when saudi arabia
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announced through king abdullah that enough is enough, and this bloodshed must be stopped by bashar al assad. but i might surprise you that even after 7th of august, 2011, saudi arabia, they didn't top their dip plomatic -- [inaudible] so we continue to see some officials after 7th of august in riyadh, and we tried to talk with them, but also the result was negative with syria. so this is why we maybe also are more disappointed from american policy because i am, i am sure americans, they know about all this diplomatic effort because we are, as we are close friends to americans, i think we don't hide anything from the united states. so i think the ambassador is there fortunately.
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so what we are waiting from the united states, i will tell you frankly, and i am talking, i'm talking personally. i don't represent any official view. i think the united states has lost an opportunity to work against bashar al assad, and i can tell you frankly for the syrian issue maybe since afghanistan issue that both saudi arabia, both the religious extremists, liberal like -- [inaudible] they work together to agree against bashar al assad, and that is also a government issue. so the saudi arabian people, it was the first time that they were in one position, i can say 100%, i mean, with the government against what's bashar
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assad doing. but unfortunately, what's the united states doing, i think they were busy enough with some other issues, so now many people are disappointed, and i should tell you this -- [inaudible] also saudi arabia, we are also very surprised by. i remember after maybe two months from, i mean, let's say the last six months we start to read in american newspapers that saudi arabia is supporting al-qaeda in syria. al-qaeda, you know, everybody maybe knows in the united states that we are fighting the al-qaeda, and al-qaeda, they try to kill -- [inaudible] at his house just last year. and also we have diplomats in yemen now, and this is -- [inaudible] hundreds of prisoners from al-qaeda. so how come we are supporting al-qaeda in syria? but, of course, saudi arabia under the people and by the way, i'll tell you something, it's
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not secret that my tribe, i am from -- [inaudible] tribe, so more than 200 people in syria, they are from my tribe. so you can't imagine my mother how she's crying sometimes in the evening when she sees the news, and, you know, al-jazeera or others, so she's thinking about terrorists in syria. so i think americans they didn't even imagine how much the syrian issue affects the feeling of so many people. for sure the politicians, we also -- [inaudible] we were not backed by the united states because still some people they are thinking that united states should be leading the region. we are not expecting to be, you know, friend of russia or china and maybe, unfortunately if the united states is continuing this policy, things might be changed because what we are seeing now in the region that russia, china
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is trying to maybe raise new allies with the iraqis. so also i will emphasize about one point. some people are saying that saudi arabia is fighting bashar al assad because of sectarian issue, because he is salafi and we are sunni. this is not true because we were a friend of bashar al assad for many years, so did we discover just last year that his son is alawite? no, this is not true. so this is a political issue and not just sectarian. some people are trying to raise. some people think that we are back to work against bashar al assad to weaken iran and hezbollah, and my answer is, no, this is not true. this is not the reason. saudi arabia in opposition against bashar al assad was not from strategic and political view, it was, you know,
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regarding -- [inaudible] the people in the saudi arabia, otherwise we could work against iran and not work with the assads since maybe three decades. so that is huge misunderstanding receiving many american -- [inaudible] so finally with syria for sure i have to admit that syrian issue it is arab country and muslim country, they are weak. they can't solve their problems without -- [inaudible] what we think the united states has in damascus for us. so when we were invited, we couldn't do anything, and this gives you also the future of -- [inaudible] with respect to my ex-boss. but we can't do and solve any problems without legal and systemic oic. so finally, saudi arabia did
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some mistakes. the answer is yes also. i think, also, the tone of diplomacy was too much high in the beginning, so many people they were expecting something to be happened, but nothing happened, so that affected the credibility maybe. also the second, i think gcc countries, they didn't do the minimum especially with china and russia to best suit them to, let's say talk with them or even to blackmail with them, to get to any result. but they did nothing with china and russia, and now we are even suffering with russia. the last maybe point with syria, unfortunately, one of the bad things with syrian issue that we are becoming like enemy now with russia. and russian media. so now the president just gave me two minutes to talk about iraq. so iraq, also iraq, i will tell
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you something again maybe personally, my tribe is a -- [inaudible] i take you fen from syria to iraq. so this decade we didn't think about sectarian -- [inaudible] and now i will tell you that my cousin is the minister of justice in iraq. because of this sectarian tension, and this tension, unfortunately, we didn't see it or live with it before the american invasion to iraq 2003. so i think they were mass loser from the invasion of american, i mean, iraq, and it is not secret that unfortunately iran is now controlling both the political and the religious decision in iraq. we are not exaggerating. but also at the same time i
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assume saudi arabia and arab country, they didn't do the minimum force to work in iraq. .. so now iraqi prisoners becoming -- and also i think iraq is
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becoming -- [inaudible] that's what they did in syria and they are supporting bashar al-assad. they have to stop. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. our last of the speakers before we turn to our respondents is david lesch, with the title of what guides, methods under a syrian leadership. >> thank you, john, and it's always good to be here with my friend john duke anthony, and he was very influential in my early career about 20 years ago, and i'm catching up to you now in grey here. so that's always a privilege and pleasure to be within. i would say more nice things about him but i don't have time. i think my value added to this panel because particularly no newspaper eyed we with much of
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what she said. is to present a view of the world from damascus, from bashar al-assad and the leadership. and has some of you know, i met with him on a regular basis between 2004-2009. as well as much, not much, but a good many of the syrian leadership during that time and thereafter. so i think i have a fairly decent idea about how they do the world. i think it's important in terms of how to craft policy toward this particular leadership. obviously, the popular today is bashar has become the middle is tired. he unleashes a force on entire population at the at the end of reminded serious he was more like his father than the reformer many come and clean myself, hope to be when he assumed the presidency in 2000 much of the disappointment, in the west is based on what i call a conceptual gap between history leadership and much of the rest
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of the restaurant world. i think the expectations on bashar work too hard and, therefore, the disappointment was all that much greater. instead of creating a profile he liked phil collins music and sony camcorders, and things of this nature in study for 18 months, ophthalmology in london, instead of looking effect use a child of the israeli arab conflict, the superpower cold war, a child of the tumult in lebanon, keeper of the flame of the alawite fortress, and most importantly a child. when a solid spoke in his first -- assad spoke in response to the uprising, he branded terrorists as armed gangs as a primary reasons for the unrest. he still does. most of those outside of syria stopped at such blatant problems that brought the arab spring to sherry. but many syrians, even a thought himself readily believes this
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stuff. i guarantee you he was shocked the arab spring seeped into syria. there were three national, he commissioned three studies by his national secured apparatus before the uprising seek into syria in march 2011 from all three said it wasn't going to happen. bashar al-assad given out infamous interview with "the wall street journal" where he basically said syria was immune from this. of this disease in the arab world. and the malfeasance of the extreme regime and various publications and genuine friend, even support protesters in egypt and tunisia, and elsewhere. so was kind of a denial of most of what was going on in the rest of the world. blame it on syrian paranoia, widespread of the past, arab-israeli conflict or regime brainwashing to consecrate the necessity for security state but it is large measure function and
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living a dangerous neighborhood where threats are around the corner. it is this gap is at the root of the impasse between much of what the international committeeman to the same regime and what assad is doing or what he he should do to end violence against the protesters, against rebels in the far reaches the far reaches of corporate am also sure if i'd assad anytime during the uprising he would've pointed out to me he'd made extensive concession in the reforms. is not claiming any credit for this and that such would conclude as is done in the past that the united states and the west have out for him no matter what he does. it will not be enough so why even try. i think he was sincerely believed he doesn't trust the u.n. he doesn't trust terribly. he doesn't trust the west. anderson people in your, spent a lot of time at sea. if you've been anytime in syria, tremendously paranoid. the paranoia is often charge. assad is a product of in a
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authoritarian system. syrian system is not geared to respond to people to demands and controls but it's not due to implement dramatic reform. it's constructed to maintain the status quo and survive. real reform for counter to the basic instinct. i got as i said earlier, i think i got to know bashar al-assad fairly well. certainly the image, i think certainly in beginning it seemed to be different than the typical middle east dictator which led many people don't he would infinitely change the system. bashar was perceived as mostly relatively a normal person who vincentian the brutal crackdown on the uprising, think about perhaps human behavior in general. now even so-called normal people succumb to power. assad lost his way. are those who argue and perhaps they are right there was never any way to lose. he was asleep in the very beginning. i would argue instead. eyed he convinced himself or was
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convinced that his whelping was synonymous with the well being of the country and that what he was doing in terms of violate putting that approach is not meeting the demands for change were both necessary and correct. in a way to become more with power, and i saw this up close and personal over the years. is not necessary of the thing except it's an authoritarian system. in these cases, roger owen has written his latest book on these authoritarian regimes, the reality is constructed and orchestrated around here. i believe he did a lot of the strong triumphalism after 2005 after surviving what he would call the worst bush administration could throw at him following the opposition to the us invasion of iraq, particularly after the assassination in 2005. he survived it. he was righteous but he was on the right side of history. it was his destiny to rule, and
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this has played a crucial part in my opinion in his response to the uprising but he believes what he's doing is is not only surviving, protecting those around him, the system, but he saving the country this is another significant challenge and he will survive if it takes 10 years to do so, so be it. in another since the syrian government's crackdown is a pushbutton response to domestic threat. it's business as usual. iciness up close and personal unfortunately it is not a so assad doesn't control the security forces, that this is the way it has worked under assad. today bashar has not been willing shortly before the uprising -- is that my phone was i thought it was a new signal. ashore has not been willing to reduce the tremendous amount of leverage is given security forces in his country to deal with threats, real and imagined. he simply went along with
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business as usual instead of understanding the new circumstances created by the arab spring. in addition the regimes simply do not make concessions of weakness. they will only make concessions from perceived positions of threats. so cracking down on the demonstrated will offer some level of political reforms or two sides of the same coin. this is the syria way. very much foreign policy as well and elected by both sides of the fence. assad did his job well. he constructed an airtight array of family travel, sectarian-based patronage system that produced loyalties and stability. and as for my good friends in damascus wrote last year, he said quote, for the regime its supporters and its allies, syria is an amateur society, a positive with evidence both real and effective and generally blown out of proportion a series of sideshows violent and seditious proclivities that can
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be contained only by ruthless power structure, unquote ultimately bashar and his followers cannot trust anyone else in syria. is initial strategic vision for international respected and integrated syria became consumed by syrian paradigm of political survival. he was either unwilling or powerless to stop the response to perceived threats. he returned it to me typically authored touring mode of survival your and alawite fortress to protect, the various governments of syria that co-opted over the years to protect them and their chokehold on our but many of us would change the system which seems to have happened is that the system changed him, in my view. three scenarios i see just very, very quickly. continuing stalemate, continuing civil war, and paul has i think aptly mentioned whirlpool, getting bigger and deeper, or
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whatever silly wrote about in the lebanon decision of syria, not exactly apples and apples for some very similarities. second, military intervention i think mono presented a very good case of the problems surrounding that. but that's the only way that the opposition i think will achieve complete victory over the regime. although it is teetering right now. it will see what happens if it falls into rebel hands. efforts in our is negotiate a solution if one is open for, some of which mona went over. and i do agree that it has to involve the russians and arenas. the thing that everyone is assuming that is that they will listen to anything the international community has to say. they may not. in fact, i would say the only ones that have a chance, a convincing bashar al-assad to accept a negotiated solution that may lead to give an immediate or near-term sense is
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stepping up from power and those around him are the iranians. and, of course, that's radioactive. and maybe very difficult in an international setting. i think personally, not that i particularly like it, but any gaucher solution under the current circumstances will have to include bashar al-assad and the circle around them staying in power for some time, perhaps by 2014 election that is coming up, perhaps even the after with political reform. that our science the other element elements in national community they are getting weary of this conflict. the turks i think are a little weary right now. there've been some comments even from the obama administration, shifting from the manichaean view towards assad. so all of these scenarios don't present too much of a pretty picture, and, obviously, lead to more death and destruction in the near term but, unfortunately, there are no easy
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answers to this. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we have two respondents. we have paul sullivan, professor of economics, national defense university as was agenda professor in the security studies program at georgetown university. will ask and become first and then lastly we'll have ambassador take the tooth, president and ceo of america-mideast education and training. spent i have not been more torn of the situation were longtime that the situation in syria. this is a serious business. now, when people mentioned soft power, i think there may be some of get the impression that this is having peace on lake geneva, an


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